Deontay Wilder simply thinks Anthony Joshua is a manufactured talent.
In an interview with Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast, the heavy hitter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, accused London’s Joshua of bamboozling the boxing public by making it seem he is more popular than he actually is.
The comments come only a few weeks after both shared the stage at a press conference for separate scheduled fights on the Dec. 23 card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua will take on Otto Wallin in the main event, while Wilder is set to face off against Joseph Parker.
Both Joshua and Wilder were generally cordial towards each other at the press conference, and Wilder even seemed to have patched up his thorny relationship with Joshua’s longtime promoter, Eddie Hearn.
But that goodwill seems to have run its course.
In the interview with Custer, Wilder accused Joshua of running a ticket scheme to put on the illusion that his fights are sellouts. Joshua is one the biggest sporting stars in his native England and routinely fills stadiums for his fights.
“I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: it’s a difference between champions being born and being made,” Wilder said. “And Joshua was made, you understand me? He was a made fighter. They bought things, they gave him things. Even with certain things, with the arena. ‘Oh, they sold this.’ No! Y’all didn’t sell out nothin'. Y’all comped tickets and y’all resold them.
“I know how the whole game works, bro. I’m behind scenes. I know how things work. You wanted it to seem like it sold out, you put your tickets out there, and you build your own little ticket thing and you buy all your tickets. Now it seems like you sold out the arena. And what you do? All you do is put it back on the market and resell it.”
“It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, when it comes to the business,” Wilder continued. “And now people on the outside looking in, ‘Oh my God, they sold out faster than Michael f------ J[ackson].’ Are you serious? That’s how it is. That’s how the trick is done.”
There is high expectation that Wilder and Joshua will finally meet in the ring next year should they be victorious in their respective fights on Dec. 23.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.